PPC, SEO or Social Media: Which Will Deliver the Best ROI for Your Business?

We’ve all been there: spending hours or days trying to decide between investing in PPC, SEO or social media. It’s a tough decision and can make you feel like you’re sitting on a fence – falling off either way. But, the thing is – it doesn’t need to be that way.

Truth is, the marketing puzzle is more complex now than at any point in history. Gone are the days when businesses can rely on one method to achieve success, although many still try. 

Today, your marketing strategy must be dynamic and tested. As marketers struggle to achieve results through social media channels, SEO tactics or PPC campaigns, it’s time to consider the big picture.

First things first: Traffic, Convert, Sell!

Online marketing can be a tricky thing to nail.

There’s no denying the power of the web—it’s such a powerful force that it has turned small businesses into billion-dollar enterprises and legacies. But if you’re like many other executives today, you might be wondering if there is a way to leverage this power to increase profitability and revenue for your business. The answer: Absolutely!

At first, just having a huge number of users to your website is the key factor. But eventually, it will be your ability to convert those users into prospects and eventually customers that will make a difference in your business. 

When it comes to your marketing budget, you always want to ensure the maximum return on investment (ROI) for each campaign. This can be challenging if you are unsure which of the three main digital marketing channels – PPC, SEO or social – will deliver the most value for you. 

Business owners and marketers today can leverage these marketing strategies to drive leads and increase their online visibility. But what they usually don’t know is they can also make improvements to these strategies using keyword research and competitor analysis to see how their competitors are performing in their respective channels.

So, what should be the investment priorities in digital marketing for your business or organisation?

PPC – Pay Per Click Advertising.

SEO – Search Engine Optimisation for organic traffic.

Social Media Marketing – A social media campaign through platforms such as Twitter Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn etc. 

Online marketing can be a tricky thing to nail. What works for one business may not work for another, and that’s down to a multitude of factors, from how well known your brand is, to what you’re selling, all the way through to the audience you’re aiming at.

While there’s no magic bullet, PPC, SEO and social media should blend together well. Each can work alone but can be so much more effective when used together.

Before we get into the meat of things, let’s quickly go over what each channel is and does.

What is PPC?


PPC ads, or pay-per-click advertising, display advertisements in prominent places, such as on the first page of Google search results or on other websites (depending on the bid rate), to draw a web user’s attention. 

Every time your ad is clicked, Google (or the publisher) deducts from the deposited amount in your Google Ads (PPC) account – that is, you “pay per click.” (The amount will vary based on various factors, such as the popularity and competition score of the keywords). 

How PPC (Google Ads) Works

Google Ads makes up 90% of global PPC advertising. When you do a search on Google, you might see some top results from your query labelled “ads” These are ads that advertisers pay to be featured, and they’re created specifically to match your search.

In other words, pay per click is a quick and easy way to get your business or website in front of a highly targeted audience. With PPC’s sponsored “ads”, your product or service can pop up on Google top search results or display banners of the favourite blog sites of your prospective customers with relevant keywords.

You can then attract leads with purchasing intent, while also tracking the performances of your advertising campaign with detailed and real-time data reports. 

Besides search engine marketing (typing in a query into a search engine), pay per click marketing also includes display advertising (on targeted websites), video advertising, and remarketing.

Benefits of PPC

PPC offers several benefits to businesses and organisations:

  • You get instant visibility on search engines top results page (Google Page One), This your website appears almost instantly when someone searches for a particular keyword. This way, your site can be easily accessible to the global audience without any pre-marketing, which gives you an immediate boost in traffic.
  • You only pay when someone clicks on the sponsored ad – which could be a link to your website, a phone or an email contact.
  • No waiting period – You’ll start seeing more traffic, clicks, and conversions as soon as your PPC campaign begins. On the other hand, your site may take months to move up search engine results after you implement SEO.
  • It’s easy to control and scale PPC – You set your budget and have a good idea of how many leads you’ll receive. This allows you to plan your advertising budget accordingly. You can even decide to pause it and turn it on again at a later date.

    However, with SEO, it isn’t as straightforward as it might seem. especially In highly competitive industries or locations. If you want to rank higher, it can take longer or cost more.
  • A PPC campaign removes the concern about how Google’s algorithm will affect your position. Since you are bidding for the top spots, your organic ranking isn’t going to matter. By contrast, SEO requires you to optimize your site in accordance with Google’s best practice standards, or you’ll lose ranking or be penalised.
  • You can instantly tap into and reach a potential global audience of millions of people. You almost certainly can’t get that through SEO—at least not quickly.
  • You can tailor the keywords to your particular geographical location (e.g., “Chinese restaurant in Lagos”). The majority of searches have local intent as people tend to love and support small, local businesses.
  • With PPC, you’re more likely to have higher conversion rates (meaning more people who click on them are likely to become customers). This is because you can target specific keyword phrases that qualified leads are likely to type in search queries on Google.

Disadvantages of PPC

A PPC campaign is obviously expensive. Google will only charge you if your ad is clicked, but targeting high-traffic keywords on a tight budget can be challenging. 

Of course, the costs rack up if you don’t get it right the first time and do not see a return on investment from your ad spend. Here are the other drawbacks. 

  • Every single click is charged to your campaign fund deposit. Prices can vary based on the industry.
  • There is no guarantee the web users who click on your ad will convert to customers.
  • PPC is like a water tap *faucet)  that stops providing leads once it is turned off. Are the leads you’re getting naturally enough to sustain you in the event that you suddenly have to divert your PPC budget somewhere else? It takes a while for SEO to get going, and it may slow down at times, but once it starts at full speed, there’s no stopping it.
  • An inexperienced user would have a difficult time understanding and leveraging all the options within PPC.
  • It takes specialist skills to optimise a PPC campaign. Finding the perfect keywords and optimising the campaign for the right target market, geolocations, timing etc can be challenging and take a lot of time, even for professionals.
  • When you do not manage PPC properly, you could waste a lot of money on things that are not relevant to your business.
  • It takes a lot of effort to manage a PPC account. Analysis and optimisation take a lot of time.
  • PPC is not an ideal long-term digital marketing solution.
  • Compared to SEO, PPC is costly over time.
  • Each account can only host one website or domain.
  • In Google search results, PPC campaigns are labelled “Ads,” a term that has low trust with Internet users. According to GrowTraffic, current stats show that less than 10% of web users actually click on paid ads, compared to 94% for organic results from SEO. 

General PPC ads vs. Retargeted ads

General PPC ads are designed to target people who have never heard of you, your product, or your business.  It’s aimed at bringing cold traffic, usually new visitors to your website, by including keywords that are related to your business or brand name. 

These keywords are typically phrases that have high search volumes, allowing you to reach a large number of people.

Retargeting ads, on the other hand, work by tracking users who have visited your website or product page for a specific period of time. These categories of visitors are known as “warm leads” as they are already familiar with your product or service.

The point of using retargeting ads is to try to get the user back to your website. When the user visits another website, your ad is displayed to them to reignite their interest in your offering and hopefully close the sale.  

Retargeting is the perfect strategy for companies with limited budgets. Rather than advertising to everyone and anyone, you can zero in on your ideal prospect by pulling in visitors who already know and like what your company sells.

What you need to run a successful PPC campaign

The world of pay-per-click advertising can be a tricky landscape for new businesses,  as, it can sometimes feel like there’s a little bit of hocus pocus involved. 

While there is no magic formula, there ARE certain steps you can take to ensure your PPC campaign gives you the results you desire…

  • Choose keywords with high volume and low competition. Make sure that your keywords have a high search volume (1,001+ searches per month) and a low competition score (from 0 to 1). If you’re running Google Adwords, the Keywords Everywhere plugin is a great way to find cool keyword ideas.
  • Craft your copy intelligently. As you only have a small amount of space to convey your message, make sure every word counts. Take advantage of emotions, create compelling calls to action, and ensure your ad copy addresses your customer’s pain points.
  • Keep in mind the rest of your funnel as well. When creating your PPC ad, ask yourself, “What will I offer these interested people, and how will it ultimately help me achieve my profitability goals?” No matter what direction you go in, consider all the possibilities that will lead to an ideal conversion.

    Having a clear focus on your sales funnel can give you a nice visualisation of how your customers at different stages are behaving. For example, a free report, ebook, checklist, etc. is a great way to entice prospects at the awareness level into seeing your product as well as nudging them toward signing up.
  • Monitor your campaign closely once it is launched. Run tests to determine which version of your ads performs better. Then, you can determine which campaigns work and which don’t and make adjustments to your campaigns accordingly.

What is SEO?

SEO is often called “natural” or “organic” lead generation. 

An SEO campaign optimises your website or online brand to enhance its visibility and ranking on search engine (Google) results page. This, in turn, will drive more traffic to your website.

The essence of SEO is providing Google with enough information to understand what your site is about by ensuring it has good content, rich user experience and HTML code that the spiders can read and crawl well, meta-data marked up appropriately and so on. 

The more helpful you are to the spider, the easier you make it for it to show your site everywhere possible and help you outrank your competitors. 

How SEO Works

SEO is about two things: making sure the search engines know what your site is about, and providing information that people want when they search. It is about ensuring your page ranks high on the major search engines.

SEO is a long-term commitment and involves more than posting blog content. It’s an entire strategy that needs to be considered and followed, including consistently using meta descriptions and optimising your link anchor text. 

SEO has changed a lot in recent years and continues to evolve as search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! modify their algorithms to give website surfers the most useful information.

Search intent or search motive is one of the most important factors to consider when optimizing your website for conversion rates. It’s used in all marketing strategies, but SEO strategies are heavily reliant on it. 

Learning about search intent —why someone is searching for something —is the best way to get people to convert. Anyone searching for pet food online, for example, is likely searching with the intent to find a place to buy a large amount of it.

Do your readers want to know how something works? Do they have a burning question about a concept or idea? Are they looking for an item or offerings like a specific book, product or service? To make sure your content is relevant and useful to your readers, you need to figure out what they want to know—and provide it.

Aside from creating content people are interested in, you can also increase your content’s and website’s exposure by having other, well-established, good domain authority websites link to your content. 

There are the best ways to do that:

  • Writing guest posts: Guest blogging is a strategy where you write an article for another site in your industry. This works to get you quality backlinks, which can impact your search engine rankings. However, it also allows you to reach new readers, which expands your direct brand reach.

It’s an effective way to establish yourself as an authority in your industry, build relationships with others in the industry, attract new customers, and keep your brand top of mind.

  • Creating highly useful, helpful and actionable content that people will want to share with others on their socials or other blog sites.
  • Ensuring your website is in great shape by utilising clean codes, has a nice structure, navigation and user experience with brand consistency.
  • Maximising social media marketing and engagement.
  • Uploading quality and shareable explainer marketing videos on your website as well as on YouTube and your brand’s other social media accounts. 

In addition to being a fun and engaging way to better explain how your products or services work, videos also help bring in more traffic and sales and can be used in an advertisement or for branding purposes.

At its core, SEO is pretty simple; it’s all about getting your site to show up when someone searches the internet looking for the information and services you provide. 

If you can make sure that search engines like Google can easily find and index your pages, then potential customers who use them will be able to find you fast. 

Benefits of SEO

  • You get free traffic!
  • SEO or organic traffic provides more traffic value than PPC. In their decision-making process, more people rely on organic results than paid results.
  • Organic SEO is very cost-effective. When you do PPC campaigns, you have to pay every time someone clicks on your ad. On the other hand, the initial costs of setting up SEO are minimal, and they help you save money in the long run.
  • Organic SEO is long-lasting. This is the biggest advantage of SEO over PPC. The client’s website remains higher in the natural search results, even when there is no money being spent on advertising. The result of this continued high ranking is more traffic, which leads to more leads and sales coming in.
  • SEO ranking is more stable. On the other hand, your PPC ad position can be dramatically affected by any number of factors – competitive bidding, click-through rate, and conversion rate – to name a few.

    It’s extremely difficult to maintain control of your PPC ranking and you can easily drop from a top 10 ad position for a highly-targeted keyword.
  • Builds brand trust and authority. Being found organically in search engine results builds brand recognition, authority, and trust. These are hard things to accomplish with PPC advertising where your organic presence is happening on another site.

    Your customers are more likely to trust you when they see you have provided high-value content so other people will naturally link to it versus simply being there because you paid for it.
  • Natural brand mentions. The natural placement of your brand name in anchor texts when linking to your website is a benefit that does not exist in PPC. These links and mentions will build up similar to a snowball as you rank more and more posts.
  • SEO is a great tool for PR and brand awareness.
  • Have I mentioned it’s free traffic?
  • An excellent long-term solution for ranking higher on Google.
  • Reduced abandonment rates with organic traffic,
  • There is no charge for clicks.
  • Web surfers and target customers’ trust is higher with SEO results compared to PPC ads.
  • Optimized websites are favoured by Google and other major search engines.
  • An SEO search result does not have an “ad” tag:

Disadvantages of SEO

SEO is crucial to your online success —but it requires a long-term strategy. 

How often do you click on links in Google that aren’t on the first page? Very rarely, right? That’s exactly why investing resources to optimise your website for Google Page 1 search results for the right keywords and key phrases is so important.

However, you cannot get real results without putting in the time and effort. When you apply the SEO right strategies to grow traffic and move higher into search engine rankings, There are no shortcuts to success. If you use black-hat techniques, you’ll end up with a penalty from Google and you’ll be limiting your own success.

On average, Google’s top 10 sites are more than two years old, according to Ahrefs. And the age of sites that rank #1 in search results? Just about three years.

  • SEO is also not an exact science; it is a web of interconnecting algorithms and data. Though you can control many things about your SEO, ultimately where you rank on Google’s search results pages is up to the algorithms, which are always changing. 

This makes it challenging to accurately predict what impact any given change will make in ranking in Google and other search engines like Bing or Yahoo.

  • SEO is not something that will happen overnight or even in a short time period. If you are looking for results in the same range as paid advertising, you are likely out of luck. There is no guarantee of immediate results. You have to invest time and possibly money to reap the rewards.
  • SEO is a complex process and it usually takes 3 to 6 months before you notice some semblance of rankings improvements. This bears some repeating: SEO really does take time, and you need to be prepared to give it the time and effort it deserves.
  • Although SEO is an effective method to gain traffic, the success of your efforts is not set in stone. Ongoing efforts are required to keep higher rankings. 

At least once a month you should check the rankings of your site across multiple search engines. Remember, the position you hold on search engine results pages not only affects how many visitors you receive but also how much revenue you generate through advertising.

What is Social Media Marketing (SMM)?

The goal is to gain exposure for your business or brand through various kinds of social media content, which can include advertisements, posts, videos, user-generated content,  and others.

Benefits of social media advertising

  • It’s a massive marketplace! Facebook alone has over a billion users.
  • You can interact and engage with your brand followers in real-time. which can help you create genuine connections, provide direct solutions and build brand loyalty.
  • Social media gives you the chance to control your brand perception and social communication.
  • With text, images and videos you have many options for engaging with people.
  • Paid promotional campaigns on social media offer many options for precisely targeting your ideal audience.

Disadvantages of social media advertising

  • Social media is second-level or passive advertising because – unlike your SEO or PPC target audience who are actively conducting a search on search engines with target keyphrases – followers you are trying to engage with you may not necessarily be looking to buy your products or services at the time.
  • Creating, managing, and delivering excellent social media campaigns takes a lot of time and planning. Many don’t understand the amount of work it takes to run a social campaign and the success rate is pretty low. Plus, there’s no way to guarantee any level of success in social media…unless you are a celebrity or social influencer yourself.
  • Social media is fast-paced, highly competitive and has relatively low barriers to entry. It is also a fickle place where reputations can be lost in the space of minutes. 

Social media allows for unprecedented speed to reach customers, but no security filter means there are no rules. All this makes social media marketing a risk to any business.

  • Social media may drive traffic to your website if done correctly. But in most cases, social media traffic does not compare in any way to the traffic you will receive from SEO or PPC (Google AdWords) campaigns.
  • When targeted incorrectly, social paid traffic can seem like a waste of time and resources.
  • Unlike the targeted traffic you get with SEO and PPC where people are actively searching on Google, social paid traffic is based on the profile of the user – not buyer intent. 

So Which Will Deliver More ROI: PPC, SEO or Social Media? OUR RECOMMENDATION

In summary:

  • PPC can help your business grow, which is why many small business owners turn to it when they are starting out. But what some might forget is that while PPC provides rapid growth, it is also expensive.
  • SEO offers theoretically limitless potential for organic traffic; however, it typically takes time. When optimising for web traffic, patience is key.
  • Social media marketing might be the right choice for your business if you need to build brand awareness and audience engagement, but it may not deliver the conversions you want.

PPC is best for quick results at the top of the page, while SEO is better for long-term Google rankings. SEO is the smarter choice if the focus is more on budget and less on time.

Choose social media advertising if your priority is brand, product or service awareness – and not really a quick return on investment. It works well too if you think your business or offering is something people will be excited about and want to share.

If you want to hit Google Page 1 from the get-go, then PPC is the best for you. However, the best strategy is to intelligently and creatively combine all three. 

You may want to do more of PPC (Google Ads) in the beginning to quickly race to the top of the search engine page results and complement it with vigorous social media marketing for brand awareness. 

Then as your product or service gain some traction with your target market, solidify it with strategic SEO planning and execution for a more stable and long-term ranking in the top results.. 

You should now have a better grasp of the concept of SEO, how it works and compares to running a PPC or social media marketing campaign. This will help you plug the gaps in your internet marketing strategy. 

The most important thing is to clearly define your marketing goals and make sure you prioritise (and combine) the right channels and strategies to guarantee the best return on investment.

Patiently and carefully learn how to apply each strategy and assess the results as you go so you can improve and make each campaign better than the last. Get in touch with us at NaijaCopy.com if you’d like expert help with your digital marketing plans.

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